Donald Trump has lost the 2020 presidential election, and he is putting the U.S. at risk in the service of his ego. Trump is digging in his authoritarian heels, refusing to accept the results, refusing to concede victory to former Vice President Joe Biden, and blocking the crucial presidential transition process. Americans aren’t surprised that Trump is once again placing his ego above the good of the country. We should all be alarmed, however, at the way he is undermining our democratic process and threatening our national security.
Long before the election, Trump began his attempts to undermine the validity of its outcome by declaring that the only way he’d lose the election would be by Democrats’ cheating. Now, after Trump has lost the election, his base, already primed, and without any basis, are, predictably, accusing the Democrats of cheating.
The Trump campaign has brought lawsuits against numerous states where Joe Biden was declared the winner. He has demanded that Georgia, also a state where Biden has been declared the winner, conduct a recount of all votes. None of Trump’s allegations of voter fraud has any basis, and Biden is in fact ahead in many states by tens of thousands of votes. Even some Republican state-level leaders are defending the integrity of their elections, causing Trump and his loyalists to mock them and call them traitors.
Donald Trump has created an alternate universe, fueled by his tweets, in which an outcome where he is not the winner could not possibly exist unless it is the result of foul play. In Trumpworld, as we have seen numerous times in the past, truth, facts, data, and integrity are inconsequential. They must either be altered to reflect Trump’s worldview, or they are discarded. Because Donald Trump is unable to accept the results of the election, his loyalists are also unable to accept them.
“Frankly, we did win,” said Trump on Election Night in a late-night “victory speech,” already threatening to take the election results to court.
Trump’s unhinged Election Night speech should finally have demonstrated to his ardent supporters the state of his mind, which teeters between a despotic bent and a break with reality. But Trump’s supporters are so devoted that they fully believe and accept his brazen gaslighting, even though by now, it resembles less of a gaslight and more of a flame thrower.
“The last President I covered who refused to accept the vote count in an election was Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Iran, 2009,” said journalist Christiane Amanpour in response to Trump’s speech.
Trump’s blatant disregard for the American election process has even greater consequences than nurturing division among Americans. It is destroying trust in our government and in American democratic processes. It is eroding the confidence of other world leaders in our ability to be a stable force any longer, and it is aiding our enemies. It is putting Americans and our national security in danger.
As Americans, many of us take for granted that we’ll always have a government that works as it should; that power grabs by any one branch would be checked by the others; that behavior by leaders and cabinet members that threatened the democratic process would be called out and dealt with harshly. Yet in the Trump administration, none of this applies.
Trump’s administration is filled with sycophants and enablers who value their careers over the good of the Americans they serve, and who stand behind even the most absurd Trumpian antics. Presumably, they studied some history and some civics somewhere along the line; more than a few of them have law degrees. One would think that at least some of them might recognize the signs of an aspiring despot. Or perhaps they do; that’s a chilling thought.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who graduated West Point, smiled at reporters during a press conference as he said, “There will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration. We’re ready,” he said. “The world is watching.”
Yes, the world is watching. It is watching as the secretary of state tries to smoothly invalidate a free and fair American election. It is watching as the Trump administration and GOP lawmakers unflinchingly fabricate stories of election fraud (but only in states where Trump lost), and demand that Trump be declared the winner. It is watching as the U.S. Attorney General demonstrates his loyalty to Donald Trump and compromises the integrity of his office… similarly to what happens in authoritarian regimes around the globe.
The world is also watching as the General Services Administration (GSA) refuses to grant President-elect Joe Biden access to the resources and funds he needs in order to transition to the office of President in January. Biden, as the leader-elect of the free world, will also need the national security briefing the Trump administration refuses to share with him. This week, it was also reported the State Department has prevented Joe Biden from receiving messages from world leaders who have called to congratulate him.
“If I were our adversaries, this is when I would launch an attack. …When people on the other side are in disarray, this is when you attack,” noted Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), who sits on the Senate Committee on Armed Services, and who is a candidate for Secretary of Defense for the incoming Biden administration.
As other countries watch what’s happening now in the U.S., will they find it increasingly difficult to respect the United States as an advocate for strengthening democracy around the globe? Will it be hard for us to plausibly argue for free and fair elections in other places? Are we any longer an example of a rational, secure nation?
When a president takes office, he or she becomes the protector of our democratic system. Declaring oneself the winner despite losing an election, refusing to validate election results, preventing people from voting, turning the cabinet and the Congress into a choir of enablers, refusing to allow the next president to move forward; these are what a president does when he is the protector, not of a democratic system, but of his own authoritarian interests.
President Trump refuses to concede | ABC News [2020-11-08]
Trump Administration Still Refuses To Concede Election To Biden | TODAY